Author page: Laura Hillsman

Countdown to Spring Break

With just three more days until spring break, we’re all ready to pack up and head out. For many of us, however, there is a final gauntlet of midterms between now and spring break freedom. To prepare you for the transition, here’s a playlist that can move you from the stress of midterms into a carefree spring break.

Stop Resisting: An Interview

Photo credit: Chris Michel
Photo credit: Chris Michel

For those of you who missed it, Stop Resisting recently had a show in the basement of Towers. The set-up was great, with curtains over the door and multicolored lights playing off the walls. However, for some of us concert goers it was a little difficult to tell what exactly was going on with this new band. They played a mix of originals and covers, and while I was incredibly entertained, I needed to find out a little more about this new band. I emailed one of the band members, Will Braithwaite, and he got me the inside scoop. So without further ado, I give you Stop Resisting.

5 Reasons Why I Love The End


The End is such an ominous title for a concert venue. I remember my freshman year when I did my very first in-studio interview. The band I was interviewing was telling me all about their show tonight at The End. Being a clueless freshman, I of course asked ‘at the end of what’?

Three years later and infinitely wiser, I’ve grown to love that concert venue on Elliston. Here are five reasons why:

Illegal Inspiration? Sampling in Music

Image result for sampling music laws


On my long drive home over this past weekend, I wound up listening to a lot of NPR. The drive was over twelve hours long, and while I have a lot of music on my Spotify account, I’m not sure I have quite enough to last me for a twenty-four hour round trip. As I browsed through the different featured podcasts, I stumbled upon a program inspired by a TED talk on originality. Intrigued, I decided to give it a shot.

Finding your Fall Favorites

Image result for fall vanderbilt

Photo credit: Vanderbilt’s Peabody website

After what felt like an eternally hot summer, fall is finally here. The temperatures have finally dropped out of the nineties, classes are starting to pick up, and the pumpkin spice latte is now back at Starbucks. In light of all of these other changes you may feel tempted to hold on to your old playlists full of summer pop in the hopes that you can somehow will back the days of road trips and beach days. However, like all things in life, your music too must change. Here are some recommendations for how to shift your old summer songs into a collection of new fall favorites:

WRVU: A Blast from the Past

1984: Joe Strummer with WRVU DJs.

Over this past weekend a couple of us on the e-staff got together to clean out WRVU’s office. Full of dust, old CDs, and old promotional t-shirts, this needed to be done. So on Sunday morning we banded together with a roll of paper towels, some all-purpose cleaner, and a truly impressive number of trash bags. WRVU is over forty years old at this point, and with time inevitably comes a series of knick-knacks and souvenirs that someone just can’t bear to get rid of. That’s where we came in. Over the course of several hours, we excavated the desks and shelves of WRVU’s office, unearthing a startling collection of items in the process.

Five Songs to Get You Through Finals Week

Everyone who has ever gone through finals week knows that it is quite possibly the most stressful week of the semester. While at other times during the semester you may have a lot of competing interests, over finals week you need to have laser-sharp focus on the upcoming assessments. For some classes finals can be worth half of your entire semester grade or more, so the pressure is most definitely on. Now, given the extreme proximity of finals for this particular semester, I present you with five songs to help you weather the upcoming week:

keep-calm-and-survive-finals-week1.Tubthumping by Chumbawumba

Sure, the rest of the semester might have knocked you down, but now is the time to get back up again. We’re all tired after the work of the semester, but we can’t throw in the towel just yet. Chumbawumba is here to help you bounce back and power through this last trial before you go home for the holidays.

Will Taylor Swift “Shake Off” New Lawsuit?


Credit: Taylor Swift and VEVO

The haters really are going to hate.

Taylor Swift has now found herself in a legal battle over her hit song of off her album 1989, “Shake It Off”.  According to the BBC, Swift is being sued by American R&B singer Jesse Graham to the tune of $42 million. Additionally, Graham is suing for his name to be added as a co-writer on the song. He claims that the phrases “haters gone hate” and “playas gone play” are both copyrighted by him.

Hank Williams Biopic Presented at the Belcourt


Photo courtesy of Carolyn Sloss

Just this past Saturday, the biopic I Saw the Light was presented at the Belcourt Theatre. The movie follows the life of famed country music star Hank Williams from his marriage to his first wife Audrey through his untimely death in the back of his car on his way to perform in Canton, OH. Given the iconic status Hank Williams occupies in the realm of country music it is no surprise that I Saw the Light was screened here, in the home of country.

Kid Freud and Good Graeff Take on The End

For those of you who made it out to the show at The End last Thursday night- wasn’t it awesome? For those of you who weren’t there (and I know there were a lot of you), you missed one hell of a show. Three bands were scheduled to play that night: Kid Freud, Good Graeff, and Gunther Doug. While I had to head out before I caught Gunther Doug’s set, the other two bands really blew me away.




Taylor Swift Covers Come Just In Time For Fall


Just kidding,  technically it’s not fall until Wednesday. It’s pretty darn close though.

So here’s the deal: in October of last year Taylor Swift released her most recent album, 1989. It was a runaway success, selling the greatest number of albums in its first week since The Eminem Show released in 2002 according to MTV. Swift has since gone on an incredibly successful tour which will be swinging by Nashville on the 25th. I’d remind all Taylor Swift fans to buy tickets, but let’s face it-at this point they’re over $200 and you probably should have picked them up months ago. However, I’m not here to write about Swift’s upcoming show. Instead, I want to talk about the recent 1989 cover craze.

Music to Match Your Stress Level

download (3)

With summer rapidly approaching and the semester nearing its end, we are all being confronted with the fruits of our labor. Some of us have already lined up jobs and internships, and have been working on that final paper all semester long. Some of us have procrastinated on all of those things and are currently freaking out. And above it all we have those second semester seniors with jobs lined up who honestly could not care less about their remaining educational obligations. No matter which category you fall into, however, we have a song to match your mood.

Because the Haters Gonna Hate: Taylor Swift Buys New Adult Domain Names


Just last week, pop star Taylor Swift bought up two new websites: and I doubt it will surprise many of you to hear that neither of these sites will be utilized for their implied purpose. Instead, this is another instance of “domain squatting”, where an individual purchases a domain name either with the intent to profit off of a large amount of ads placed on a legitimate-sounding domain, or in this instance to prevent others from having the domain title. With Swift’s high degree of visibility, it was probably a good PR move. Not all celebrities have been that lucky, however.

“Blurred Lines” in Copyright Verdict?

As many of you may already be aware, a landmark decision was made this past Tuesday when artists Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams lost a lawsuit to the estate of Marvin Gaye regarding copyright infringement. According to the verdict of the case, the hit song “Blurred Lines” was too similar to Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give it Up”. Thicke and Williams have been told to pay $7.3 million dollars in damages to Gaye’s estate. Right now, their lawyers have gone on the record to say that they are appealing this decision. Their appeal will be predominately based on the fact that jurors were instructed by the judge to only compare the sheet music between the two songs, a comparison that Thicke and William’s legal team believes does not encompass the true feel of both songs.

Here’s a mashup of the two songs in case you need some reference for comparison:

Paul McCartney Staying Active

Proving he’s more than the iconic work he did with The Beatles over forty-five years ago, Paul McCartney has yet again placed himself in the musical spotlight. As many of you are probably well aware, McCartney released several songs recently in collaboration with contemporary pop artists. First was his collaboration with Kanye West on the song “Only One” as previously discussed by WRVU earlier this month. McCartney popped up again with Kanye on Rihanna single “FourFiveSeconds”. Finally, it came out just before the Grammys that McCartney is currently working with Lady Gaga.

If you’re unfamiliar with these recent events, check out the “FourFiveSeconds” video:

Left Shark or Right Shark? The Music of Super Bowl XLIX

Walking into class this afternoon, my professor proceeded to explain that today she was feeling more left shark than right shark. If you don’t understand the reference yet, get excited because a lot of strange and awesome (music) things happened this Super Bowl that we are going to get to discuss.

If you’re reading this from quite possibly anywhere in the United States, I am going to assume that you are aware of the major sporting event that occurred just this past Sunday. For those of you who are unaware though, Super Bowl XLIX was this Sunday, and as always, it was quite the event. To be completely honest, I did not watch the entire game but I did manage to glean a couple of important facts from it. First, apparently there was some kind of upset towards the end of the game. I’m not really all that concerned with it. Secondly, apparently Nationwide killed a kid in their commercial. That’s also not something I’m going to go into here. Instead, I figured why not talk a little more about the important parts of the Super Bowl?


Elastic Heart: Artistic or Inappropriate?

As many of you may already be aware, Australian musical artist Sia recently released a rather controversial video for her song Elastic Heart. Like her previous hit Chandelier, Elastic Heart featured twelve-year-old dancer Maddie Ziegler of Dance Moms fame. The video depicted Ziegler dancing alongside actor Shia LaBeouf. Almost immediately after its release, the video came under fire due to accusations of pedophilia and abusive overtones. The bulk of this criticism stemmed from the fact that LaBeouf and Ziegler both danced in nude clothing while “trapped” inside a cage.




Christmas Music for the Scrooge in You


I have to level with you guys here. I am not a big fan of Christmas music. This is probably an side effect  of working retail for the past three years, but somehow holiday music does not get me in the appropriate festive spirit. Unfortunately, as the 25th edges closer and closer, it becomes more and more difficult to avoid listening to it altogether. So for those of you who like me do not enjoy this particular subsection of music, I hereby present Laura Hillsman’s Christmas playlist for people who don’t like Christmas music.

Vinyl to MP3: A History of Music Formats

daft punk vinyl

If you’ve been in Urban Outfitters recently, odds are you’ve seen some vinyl records. These dinosaurs of the music world have been making a comeback in slightly more hipster circles for a while, hence their appearance in one of the most hipster clothing stores of them all. These records aren’t just the oldies that your parents listened to either. In fact, new albums are still being released as vinyl records as well as in more contemporary formats. So in honor of this resurgence, I hereby present to you a history of music formats, from vinyl to MP3.